Posts Tagged ‘Médecins Sans Frontières’

A remarkable choice: John le Carré wins Olof Palme Prize

January 12, 2020

John le Carré, has been revealed as the winner of the Olof Palme prizefor his engaging and humanistic opinion making in literary form regarding the freedom of the individual and the fundamental issues of mankind,” said the prize organizers in a statement on Friday 10 January 2020. They further justified their selection of the novelist by stating, “Attracting world-wide attention, he is constantly urging us to discuss the cynical power games of the major powers, the greed of global corporations, the irresponsible play of corrupt politicians with our health and welfare, the growing spread of international crime, the tension in the Middle East, and the alarming rise of fascism and xenophobia in Europe and the United States of America.

For more on the Olof Palme Prize see:

Le Carré was born as David John Moore Cornwell on October 19, 1931 in Poole, Dorset. His mother abandoned him at a young age and his father, who would spend some time in jail, was what he would later call a “confidence trickster and a gaol bird.” Having studied modern languages at Oxford, le Carré was fluent in German and worked under cover for both the MI5 and the MI6, Britain’s domestic and international intelligence organizations. Disguised as a junior diplomat, he was stationed at the British Embassy in Bonn during the early 1960s. In his free time, he started writing spy novels, taking the pseudonym so as not to interfere with his work. He would go on to publish 21 titles, most of which deal with espionage during the Cold War, including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 1974 and A Perfect Spy in 1986.

Upon receiving Germany’s Goethe Medal in 2011, le Carré said, “Europe is in critical condition. The distance between the institutions and the people is bigger than ever before.” “We’ve lived in freedom for so long that our democracies are blemished” and populism is growing just as fast as social injustice, he also warned.

John le Carré said he would donate the $100,000 (€90,000) award money to the international humanitarian NGO Médecins Sans Frontières, according to The Guardian. The prize ceremony will take place at the Stockholm Concert Hall on January 30, 2020.

For last year’s Olof Palme award, see:

Dalai Lama to honor Theo van Boven and ICJ with award

April 4, 2013
Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dala...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of you (but fortunately not all) seem to have understood that my previous post “Gadaffi Human Rights Award resurrected: Mugabe rumored to be Laureate” was not without good reason announced for April 1st.

There is however also more serious news on the awards front: On 13-14 April 2013 the Dalai Lama will hand out the Light of Truth Awards at a ceremony in Fribourg, Switzerland. The award is organised by the International Campaign for individuals and institutions who have made significant contributions to the public understanding of Tibet and the struggle for human rights and democratic freedoms for the Tibetan people.  Among The Light of Truth honorees 2013 are:

  • The International Commission of Jurists, a member on the MEA Jury, and
  • Theo van Boven, Dutch professor emeritus in international law, former Director of Human Rights in the UN and a Patron of the MEA.

Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of the international humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will introduce the Dalai Lama.

Details and tickets:

Press contacts: Kate Saunders, email:, tel: +447947138612,

Previous videos of Light of Truth awards:

Jailed Bahraini doctors should be released now, says Mary Lawlor

March 27, 2013

In a piece in the Irish Times of 27 March 2013 Mary Lawlor, Director of Front Line Defenders, makes a strong plea for the release of the medical staff arrested and ill-treated in Bahrain:

Medical ethics is apparently too sensitive an issue to discuss in Bahrain following the cancelling of an international conference that was being organised by the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland RCSI and Médecins Sans Frontières. Hardly surprising given that the Bahraini government jails and tortures medical professionals and human rights defenders……………..

….It is a pity that the RCSI did not feel strongly enough on the issue of medical ethics to speak out publicly when colleagues, some of whom had studied in Dublin, were being tortured in police custody in 2011………But the reality is that the government continues to jail those who raise their voices in defence of human rights. At this moment Dr Ali Al Ekri, Dr Saeed Al Samahiji and Ibrahim Al Demistani, a nurse, remain in prison having been convicted of “trying to overthrow the monarchy”, by treating injured demonstrators and speaking out about killings and torture. At the same time another 20 medics and health professionals will find out today whether the charges of participating in illegal gatherings have been upheld against them. They face the possibility of receiving a three-month prison sentence, although in practice, many of them have already spent that time in prison awaiting trial. Even those medics who have been released or who have had charges against them dropped have been removed from their posts. …. Repression in Bahrain is not a secret. Medical ethics would best be served by releasing the medics from prison together with Nabeel Rajab and all those human rights defenders who have had the courage to speak truth to power.”

via Jailed Bahraini doctors and human rights defenders should be released now – Middle East News | Latest News Headlines | The Irish Times – Wed, Mar 27, 2013.